October is more than just the month of pumpkin spice lattes and falling leaves; it’s also Dyslexia Awareness Month. As a parent of 3 kids experiencing Dyslexia and as a Special Education Consultant here at Brighton Center, I want to shine a light on one of the most common learning disabilities affecting children and adults worldwide. Dyslexia affects millions of people, making it important to raise awareness, provide support, and advocate for those who have the condition. In this blog post, I’ll delve into what Dyslexia is, how it connects with special education and Individualized Education Plans (IEPs), and how Brighton Center’s Special Education Support Services Consultants can be a valuable resource for families navigating this journey.
Dyslexia is a neurological condition that impacts an individual’s ability to read, write, and spell effectively, despite having average to above-average intelligence and receiving adequate instruction. Dyslexia is not related to intelligence; instead, it’s a unique way that the brain processes information. People with this condition may experience difficulties in various areas, including:
- Reading: They may struggle with decoding words, recognizing sight words, and comprehending text.
- Writing: Spelling and organizing thoughts on paper can be challenging.
- Phonological Processing: Difficulty in recognizing and manipulating the sounds in words, which is crucial for reading and spelling.
- Working Memory: Short-term memory issues can affect the ability to follow multi-step instructions.
- Mathematics: Dyslexia can also impact mathematical skills due to difficulties in processing mathematical symbols and concepts.
Dyslexia Awareness Month
Dyslexia Awareness Month is an opportunity to dispel myths, reduce stigma, and educate the public about dyslexia. It encourages individuals, schools, and organizations to promote understanding and provide resources for those affected by dyslexia. During this month, events, workshops, and campaigns aim to raise awareness about the challenges faced by individuals with the condition and the importance of early identification and intervention.
In 2022, San Antonio’s Magik Theatre put on a production for children called Eddie & Vinnie. At its heart, Eddie & Vinnie is a buddy comedy about Eddie, a dyslexic young boy, and his best friend/pet gecko, Vinnie. Eddie struggles with his schoolwork and faces the possibility of summer school if he can’t get his grades up. In a last-ditch effort to get on the honor roll, Eddie teams up with the overly helpful new girl in class to write their end-of-the-year report. It seems like Vinnie is always there to distract him. Or, is he challenging him to lean into his uniquely beautiful mind?
Learning how to raise awareness about Dyslexia can be as easy as going to the theatre or reading a book.
Book recommendations for children to understand Dyslexia and provide encouragement and support.
- “The Alphabet War: A Story about Dyslexia” by Diane Burton Robb: This picture book tells the story of a boy named Adam who struggles with dyslexia. It’s a great way to introduce young children to the challenges of the condition and promote empathy and understanding.
- “Thank You, Mr. Falker” by Patricia Polacco: This heartfelt picture book is based on the author’s own experiences with dyslexia. It tells the story of Trisha, a girl who overcomes her reading difficulties with the help of a caring teacher.
- “Fish in a Tree” by Lynda Mullaly Hunt: This middle-grade novel follows the story of Ally, a dyslexic sixth-grader who discovers her strengths and talents with the support of her teacher and classmates.
- “Dyslexia is My Superpower (Most of the Time)” by Margaret Rooke: This book is a collection of interviews with young people who have dyslexia. It provides a first hand perspective on living with the condition and showcases how individuals can thrive despite their challenges.
- “I Have Dyslexia: What Does That Mean?” by Shelley Ball-Dannenberg: This informative and kid-friendly book explains dyslexia in a way that children can understand. It includes colorful illustrations and practical tips for coping with the condition.
- “The Bravest Worrier: A True Story of Hope, Acceptance, and Dyslexia” by Angelique A. Hunter: This book tells the story of a dyslexic boy named Tommy and emphasizes the importance of self-acceptance and resilience.
Dyslexia, Special Education, and IEPs
Dyslexia often intersects with special education services and the creation of Individualized Education Plans (IEPs). An IEP is a legally binding document created for students with disabilities to ensure they receive the appropriate educational support. For children with the condition, an IEP may include:
- Specialized Instruction: Tailored reading and writing programs that address the specific needs of the child, such as Orton-Gillingham-based approaches.
- Assistive Technology: Access to tools like text-to-speech software, speech-to-text programs, and audiobooks to aid reading and writing.
- Extended Time: Additional time for assignments, tests, and classroom activities to accommodate processing speed challenges.
- Small Group or One-on-One Support: Personalized instruction to focus on areas of difficulty.
- Accommodations: Adjustments like having a scribe for written assignments or providing a quiet space for tests to reduce distractions.
Brighton Center Special Education Consultants
Navigating the special education system can be a challenge for families, especially when their child has Dyslexia. Brighton Center’s special education consultants can be invaluable allies in this journey. These professionals specialize in assisting families in securing the necessary support and accommodations for children with disabilities, including dyslexic children.
Here’s how a Brighton Center special education consultant can help:
- IEP Development: We work with families and school districts to create comprehensive IEPs that meet the child’s unique needs.
- Legal Expertise: Special education consultants are well-versed in special education law and regulations, ensuring that dyslexic children receive the services to which they are entitled.
- Communication: Our consultants facilitate communication between parents and schools, fostering a collaborative approach to the child’s education.
- Resource Coordination: We connect families with resources, support groups, and professionals who specialize in dyslexia intervention.
Dyslexia Awareness Month is a time to remember that individuals with dyslexia have unique talents and abilities that can shine when given the right support and understanding. The intersection of dyslexia with special education and IEPs highlights the importance of recognizing and addressing this learning difference early on.
Brighton Center’s special education support services consultants play a vital role in assisting families and schools in creating an environment where dyslexic children can thrive academically and personally. By raising awareness and advocating for the condition, we can help build a more inclusive and supportive educational system for all.
As a non-profit organization, Brighton’s Special Education Support Services Team can offer support services at a fraction of the cost of a typical education consultant. Please submit an inquiry form to learn more about how Brighton can help your family.
Book recommendations for Parents
- Overcoming Dyslexia” by Sally Shaywitz: This book is highly recommended for parents and provides a comprehensive overview of dyslexia. This includes covering the signs of the condition and strategies for intervention and support.
- “The Dyslexic Advantage” by Brock L. Eide and Fernette F. Eide: This book explores the strengths and talents that often accompany dyslexia and offers insights into how to nurture these strengths.
- “Dyslexia Empowerment Plan” by Ben Foss: Ben Foss, who is dyslexic himself, provides practical advice and strategies for parents to help their children with the condition succeed in school and life.
- “The Gift of Dyslexia” by Ronald D. Davis: This book offers a unique perspective on dyslexia and presents the Davis Dyslexia Correction method, which some parents have found effective in helping their children.
- “Raising Confident Readers: How to Teach Your Child to Read and Write—From Baby to Age 7” by J. Richard Gentry and Gene P. Ouellette: While not specifically about dyslexia, this book provides guidance on early literacy development and may be helpful for parents of young children with or without the condition.
Celebrate Dyslexia Schools (CDS) is opening the first Dyslexia school in the San Antonio metro area. Its first school year will be the 2024-2025 school year. Their mission is to educate and support children and their families by expanding the use of evidence-based dyslexia interventions into historically marginalized communities. This is done by creating an enriching, emotionally safe, culturally appropriate learning environment for all students, particularly those with dyslexia.
Celebrate Dyslexia is excited to host weekly virtual lunch and learn sessions for parents to celebrate Dyslexia Awareness Month. Each week in October will cover a different topic so we hope you will be able to make them all!
A special shout out to Jasmin Dean and the board of celebrate dyslexia for the initiative of raising awareness and supporting our kids with the first DYSLEXIA school in San Antonio!!!
House Bill 3928 Update From Texas Education Agency
Please note: House Bill 3928 was passed by the 88th Texas Legislature (Regular Session) on August 3, 2023. The bill impacts dyslexia evaluation, identification, and instruction. While the agency works to update the necessary materials, be aware that the law is effective immediately. The State Board of Education’s proposed timeline for required changes will be communicated when determined and provided to the agency.
The agency has created resources to assist with the implementation of HB 3928:
- HB 3928 FAQs: Dyslexia Evaluation, Identification, and Instruction (Updated August 24, 2023)
- HB 3928 FAQs: Dyslexia Evaluation, Identification, and Instruction (Spanish) (Updated August 25, 2023)
- Overview of Special Education for Parents (Updated August 24, 2023)
- Overview of Special Education for Parents (Spanish) (Updated August 24, 2023)
- TAA HB 3928: Dyslexia Evaluation, Identification, and Instruction (August 2023)
- Appendix A – Dyslexia Handbook FAQ (Updated August 2023)
If you have any questions regarding Brighton Center’s Special Education Support Services team and their role in assisting families and schools in creating an environment where children with dyslexia can thrive academically and personally, please submit an inquiry form to learn more about how Brighton can help your family.